When Is it Time to Start Seeing a Gynecologist?

I’ve had my period for a few years now — is it time for me to start seeing a gynecologist?
– Cindy*

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that a girl first see a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15. Gynecologists are doctors who have had special additional training in the health of women and their reproductive systems. Other health care providers who see teens for issues concerning their sexual health include many adolescent medicine physicians and family practice doctors, as well as some nurses with advanced training.

Your gynecologist (or other expert health care provider) can make sure that your reproductive system is problem free and also answer any questions you may have about how your reproductive system works, your period, or your body.

You should definitely see your health care provider if you're considering being sexually active or already are. This includes any type of sexual contact oral, anal, or genital. Your doctor can answer any questions you may have about various birth control methods, prescribe birth control, and test for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Also see a doctor if you:

  • have any concerns or questions about pain or discomfort in your vagina, lower abdomen, or when you urinate
  • have a vaginal discharge or odor
  • are concerned that you might have an STD (or that your partner might have one)

If your periods are very irregular — even after the first year or two — or if they are overly long or painful, you may also want to consider seeing a gynecologist.

Getting into the habit of seeing a gynecologist yearly is a great way to ensure your health now and in the future.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2009

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